When you bring up Australia and the topic of “wine” in the same sentence, the conversation will inevitably turn towards the continent’s rich and varied array of red wines. Australia is best known for its signature style, Shiraz, but with hundreds of winemakers scattered across our diverse landscape — Australia is far from a one-trick pony. The nation’s warm, sunny climate is home to a comprehensive array of unique reds perfectly suited for any food pairing, tasting, or general celebration.
Today we’re going to take a look at four of the continent’s most popular red wines including the factors that make these red wine variants distinctly Australian.
We’ll start with Australia’s most well-known offering: the Shiraz. Known in other countries as “Syrah,” this particular red features a full-bodied taste and deep, ruby hue. The average Shiraz incorporates a host of complex flavours into its mix. The grape itself is rich and bursting with black cherry, blackberry, and tobacco —a hallmark of Australia’s most commonly grown grape species.
The unique aspect of Australia’s most popular wine is that it mixes the rich taste of the grape with a spice more commonly found in French reds. It is common to catch hints of both pepper and cloves in the average run of Australian Shiraz.
Next, we head over to the world’s most well-known red: the Cabernet Sauvignon. This particular grape is synonymous with fine French wine and has a reputation for a deep and beautiful colour ripe with complex notes like mint and currant.
The Australian brand of Cabernet Sauvignon transplants the famous vino from France’s Bordeaux region to the Margaret River and Coonwarra areas. Often, you will find novel blends of Shiraz and Cabernet as you travel the Australian countryside, but the temperate climates found in these key areas allow growers to replicate Bordeaux’s version of the grape. The result? A slightly lighter version of the beloved Cabernet flavour that’s bursting with both acidity and tannin. In fact, there is nothing quite like an aged Australian Cab anywhere on the face of the earth.
If Cabernet Sauvignon is the world’s most famous grape, then Merlot is right behind. Merlot’s universal hallmark is its adaptability. Prominent Merlot makers can be found in all corners of the globe, from Italy to South America, France to the Napa Valley. But don’t count out Australia’s take on the popular red just yet.
Merlot grows quickly, especially given a warm or moderate climate. That makes Australia’s Barossa Valley one of the nation’s top spots for Merlot production. Body wise, the Australian Merlot is somewhere between the Pinot Noir and the Shiraz. It is the perfect segue for white wine drinkers to experience the joys of red, offering a rich experience bursting with a huge range of flavour notes including plum, mulberry, cherry, raspberry, chocolate, and spice. The Australian Merlot is the perfect wine for the burgeoning wine drinker.
Finally, we arrive at Pinot Noir. In terms of colour and body, the Pinot is the lightest of the red grapes. In fact, this particular species is relatively hard to grow in relation to its other red siblings. Often, Pinot grapes are blended into champagne, but when left alone, they make a subtle tasting wine bursting with fragrant aroma.
The Australian Pinot Noir craves cooler climates in order to flourish. As a result, it can be found along the Great Southern Regions, and has since migrated to the Yarra Valley, one of Australia’s prime wine making epicentres.
Australia’s version of the Pinot Noir mixes the fruity flavours of cherry, strawberry, and plums with the aromatic scent of roses and violets, all anchored to an earthy undertone, making it a crisp and enjoyable vino.
Explore Australia With the Good Wine club
The Australia is home to a wide range of rich, full-bodied red wines that are more than just the Shiraz. The Good Wine Club is passionate about the thriving community of winemakers that call Australia home. To begin experiencing all that Australian Vineyards have to offer, consider joining The Good Wine Club today.